Scooters Are Coming to Your Town. Are You Prepared?

Ronna Weber
Posted on July 24, 2019
More than 85,000 scooters are now available for rent in the U.S. in over 100 cities. Photo courtesy FerrizFrame/signature collection/gettyimages
More than 85,000 scooters are now available for rent in the U.S. in over 100 cities. Photo courtesy FerrizFrame/signature collection/gettyimages

Ridesharing has expanded beyond Uber and Lyft into what is known as “shared micromobility.” This now encompasses bike-sharing and scooter-sharing, with scooters seemingly popping up all over the place, as they were in many cases dropped overnight in cities across the country.

According to a report by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), between 2017 and 2018 the use of ridesharing has more than doubled across the country to a total of 84 million trips. Almost half of the increase in rides is attributed to scooter usage, with more than 85,000 scooters now available for rent in the U.S. in over 100 cities.

Scooter rental cost is quite reasonable, and can easily be a cheaper alternative than other transportation services for short distances. The average cost is $1.00 to unlock the scooter and $0.15 per mile thereafter. The rider downloads the app associated with the scooter vendor, enters credit card information, scans a driver’s license and unlocks the device. Once they are done riding, they use the app to lock the scooter and leave it — hopefully — in a relatively safe place. In addition, riders have to attest they are 18 years of age or older to use the device.

However, scooters are often found on sidewalks or along the road, which can be troublesome, especially if they are knocked over (and like dominos, when one goes down, they all do).  Scooters don’t come with helmets either, meaning a rider has to be prepared, or is forced to ride without any protective gear.

This is all great for adult riders, but what about when kids skirt the rules and ride them anyway?  

Arlington, Va., which has a population of just over 230,000, is 26 square miles in size, and is located just outside Washington, D.C., embarked on a pilot program to study scooter usage once the devices appeared on city streets. Now, with over seven companies providing scooters in Arlington, the two main struggles have become how to dissuade younger riders from using them, and how to enforce the ban prohibiting their use on trails and sidewalks. 

Ronna Weber is a consultant working with the American Bus Association.
Ronna Weber is a consultant working with the American Bus Association.

Scooters are often seen parked outside schools and are frequently seen being used by students, especially at the high schools. Scooters move quickly and riders often weave in and out of traffic, especially during congested travel periods like school dismissal. Added congestion at school dismissal only compounds safety concerns, and scooters are another way that the safety of all students can be compromised if schools and communities do not plan accordingly.

Even if scooters aren’t in your community today, they are likely in the neighboring areas your buses travel to on field trips, and they may even be in your community tomorrow. Being aware and ever-vigilant can only help your drivers to ensure continued safety.

Here are some tips that you as a transportation professional should consider if scooters are in your community:

  • Ensure the school districts you serve have a scooter policy. 
  • Confirm that students and parents are informed about the policy.
  • Educate your drivers on these devices and encourage them to watch for them during their travels in general and at peak travel times in particular.
  • Work with your school board and school leadership to educate them about the safety concerns of these devices.
  • Make sure there is a place to deposit and store these devices at the schools you serve that is at least located away from the area your school buses primarily use.
  • Be mindful that neighboring communities you travel through on field trips may have scooters and ensure your drivers are aware of their impact on traffic.
  • Review current scooter usage and plans your locality has for these devices frequently, or as changes warrant.

Related Topics: ridesharing

Comments ( 2 )
  • See all comments
  • Chris

     | about 3 months ago

    What about students who ride a scooter to the bus stop and want it transported to school. If they would be allowed, properly securing the scooter is a must.

More Stories
Mobile County (Ala.) Public Schools bus driver Kimberleigh Welch passed away on Thursday after another vehicle hit her bus, causing it to overturn. Photo courtesy Mobile County Public Schools
News

Alabama School Bus Driver Dies After Bus Overturns

Kimberleigh Welch is traveling along the highway when another vehicle hits her bus, causing it to overturn. She is taken to the hospital where she succumbs to her injuries. No one else was on board at the time.

Michigan City (Ind). Area Schools’ transportation department recently recreated The Supremes’ famous “Stop in the Name of Love” — urging motorists to think twice before illegally passing a stopped school bus. Photo courtesy Michigan City Area Schools
Article

School Bus Safety Ramps Up Amid Increased Stop-Arm Running Incidents

Stop-arm cameras, partnerships with law enforcement for increased traffic patrol, and public safety campaigns are just some of the measures school districts are taking to ensure the yellow bus is the safest mode of transportation for students. Lawmakers are also introducing several federal and state safety bills.

File photo
Blog

Op-Ed: Going All-Electric May Mean Higher Costs, Emissions

Acquiring electric buses and the requisite infrastructure can have the unintended consequence of having more kids riding on older buses, generating higher overall fleet emissions, due to cutbacks on the basic turnover of the existing fleet.

Greenville County (S.C.) Schools aide Linda (shown left) and bus driver Carlos spotted a boy who had gone missing the night before and brought him to safety. Photo courtesy Greenville County Schools
News

School Bus Driver, Aide Locate Missing Boy

Bus driver Carlos and aide Linda of South Carolina are driving on their morning route when they spot a boy who had gone missing the night before. They convince him to board the bus and take him to safety.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!